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Tenant Improvement 101

Tenant Improvement 101

Are you looking to start a new business or looking to renovate the space of your current business? If so, there are a number of things that should be considered. Depending on the scope of work, it is important to know what to expect when starting a Tenant Improvement Project to save both time and money.

Development Permit or Building Permit

Defining the scope of work early on, can help determine what type of Permits your Project will need. All Tenant Improvement Projects will need a Building Permit. However, in some cases you may need a Development Permit as well. The difference between the two are:

  • Development Permits focus on reviewing the Built Form and Land Use of the Project. 
  • Building Permits focus on reviewing the Construction and Fire and Life Safety of the Project.

Development Permits are needed when a Change of Use is being done to the Building/Suite or if the Exterior of a Building is being altered. For this purpose, knowing what the Building/Suite use is classified as prior to buying or leasing the space is important to ensure it can support your business. Otherwise, a Change of Use may be needed along with potential upgrade requirements. As a result, this could hinder the project, adding extra time and money.

Required Professionals for Your Project

For all Tenant Improvement projects, a set of Building Plans will be needed for the City’s review. This is to ensure the design of the Building/Suite meets the applicable Building Codes and City’s Zoning Bylaws. Depending on the project scope of work and the goals for the Business, other Professionals may need to be involved. Examples of Professionals  includes, Structural and Mechanical Engineers, Architects or even approval from your local Health Authorities. List of Businesses needing Fraser Health/Vancouver Coastal Health Approval are shown below:

Reaching out early on with these Professionals can help determine any upgrades and equipment needed for your Project. Coordination between the Designer and these Professionals will further help the Design process to ensure all the requirements by these Professionals are met. Furthermore, this can help with the functionality of the overall design. 

Other Considerations

Some items to consider when looking at different Buildings and Suites for your Business includes, but are not limited to:

  • The age of the Building
  • The existing conditions of any Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing facilities
  • Alterations done without Permits
  • Any Restrictive Covenants or Right-of-Ways on the Property

Items like these can result in unforeseen upgrades and extra work that may be needed for the Building/Suite. As a result, this can add extra time and money to the Project.

How DOS Design Group Can Help

If you are unsure on how to identify these items, DOS can help with completing a Feasibility Study. Our Feasibility Studies will help identify what Permits will be needed by exploring the Code and Zoning requirements, contacting outside Professionals to get their opinion on the Project, and identifying upgrade requirements and any additional work needed. As a result, a Feasibility Study can help you decide if a Property is a good fit for you. Furthermore,  it can help determine how much work is expected if you are renovating your current Building/Suite to help with a smooth process throughout your Tenant Improvement Project. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your next project!

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